David Borris: "I'm a small-business owner who supports raising the minimum wage"

David Borris

David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering and member of the Main Street Alliance's national executive committee, has a powerful op-ed in today's Crain's Chicago Business. In it, David argues that a stifled minimum wage only serves the interests of the mega-corporations and their lobbyists. His businesses, like millions of other small businesses, is fundamentally different:

My business is local in every sense of the word. My employees live locally, and so do I. I work in the business every day, and I know my staff by name. My office is right next to our catering kitchen — not in a corner office in some Wall Street high-rise. I see the immediate impact that paying good wages has on my employees and their families. CEOs of corporate chains don't.

My customer base is local, too. For my business to succeed, I need a local customer base with enough disposable income to support my business. That means I need a lot of other businesses in my local economy to be paying good wages, too. This isn't rocket science. It's just taking Henry Ford's realization about good wages — that his assembly line workers needed to earn enough to afford the cars they were making in order for his business to thrive — and extending that lesson across the economy.

Big chains don't share this lifelong reliance on a local customer base. In fact, many of them seem more interested in tapping emerging markets overseas than in growing their local customer base. My “emerging market” is the class of 2014 that's about to graduate into a tough job market with too few jobs that pay enough to buy a car, make a down payment on a house or pop the question and call a wedding planner . . . and a caterer.

Read the rest over at ChicagoBusiness.com.

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